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tv   Key Capitol Hill Hearings  CSPAN  May 7, 2014 10:00am-12:01pm EDT

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quorum call:
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mr. mcconnell: mr. president? the presiding officer: the republican leader. mr. mcconnell: i ask that further proceedings under the quorum call be dispensed with. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. mcconnell: mr. president, earlier this morning it was suggested that republicans are creating a problem on the portman-shaheen bill because we're insisting on amendments. i'm stunned that anybody would think insisting on amendments would be unusual or out of order. that's what we used to do in the senate. we had amendments offered and we
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had votes on them by both sides. one senator, it was suggested, insisted on an obamacare amendment. that was dropped five days ago. nobody's insisting on an obamacare amendment on the portman-shaheen bill. senator vitter suggested that earlier but decided that was not a good idea on this particular bill because it was the opportunity we hoped to get four or five votes on important energy-related amendments. and senator durbin actually objected. so i think it's important to set the record straight this morning what senate kwepbz are asking for -- what senate republicans are asking for is four or five amendments related to the subject of energy. i would remind our colleagues that the minority in the senate has had eight roll call votes on amendments it was interested in since last july.
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last july. during that same period the house of representatives, where it's often thought the majority has no influence at all, has had 136 roll call amendments -- roll call votes. so what's going on, mr. president, is the senate is being run in a way that only the majority leader gets to decide who gets to offer amendments. he says maybe i'll pick one for you. that's not the way the senate used to operate and that's not the way the senate should operate and i hope not the way the senate will operate starting next year. now, mr. president, on another matter, the majority leader, as i just indicated, is basically shutting down the voice of the people here in the senate. that is the people that are represented by 45 of us. for seven long years he's refused to allow a truly comprehensive debate on energy
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in this chamber. we haven't had a comprehensive debate since 2007. he had a chance to change that yesterday. dozens of senators asked him to do it. we know the american people want us to do it, but he refused. apparently he doesn't think the american people deserve a vote on a single energy amendment. apparently he doesn't think the american middle class, which is being squeezed by rising energy costs and over-the- top government regulations, needs the kind of relief republicans are proposing. and he clearly must not think the people of eastern kentucky deserve our help either. kentuckians in the eastern part of my state are spaoerpbgs -- experiencing a depression -- a depression with a d and now the administration is making it work. and now there are rules that
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would make it effectively harder to build a coal plant anywhere in the country. coal is a vital interest to our economy and to the livelihoods of thousands of people in my state. we should be allowed to help them, but the majority leader said no. and let's be honest. he doesn't seem to think the people we represent deserve a say on much of anything anymore. democrats over in the republican-controlled house, as i indicated earlier have had 126 amendment votes since last july. but here in the senate, the democratic majority has allowed us nine. i said earlier. actually nine amendments since last july. that is roll call votes. it's really shameful, but it says a lot about which party is serious these days and which one is just literally playing games. and it says a lot about the complete lack of confidence washington democrats have in
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having an open debate. what's wrong with having an open debate? they're completely out of ideas and apparently they don't want anybody to know that republicans have suggestions to be made. so they're attempting to muzzle us at a time when middle-class americans are in need of some relief. i mean, do they really think that americans who have had to cope with rising electricity prices, stagnant growth and waste in the obama economy, do they think the senate should be debating ideas that might help them? it's hard to think otherwise. i think middle-class stpha* americans looking at the senate these days are left to draw an obvious conclusion of the political imperatives of the far left. we know the president's political team must be pleased. one white house aide said they plan to lean on senate democrats to" get the right outcome" this
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week. in other words, to stop the american people from having a real debate on energy policies. for the president and his political pals, it must feel like mission accomplished. this means you can avoid having to sign or veto legislation that might be good for the middle class but offensive to the furthest orbits of the left. it also means he can continue to impose energy regulations like the one i mentioned earlier through the back door to govern by executive fiat without having to worry about niceties like democratic accountability. after all, far-left activists presumably demand that the president impose those regulations because they don't want the american people getting in the way again. they know what happened the last time they let that happen. when a fully democratic-controlled congress couldn't even pass a national energy tax. and as long as it has a senate democratic majority on its side,
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the far left knows it won't have to worry about american people messing up its plans again. the majority leader proved that again this very week, and the far left won't have to worry about the representatives of the american people voting through the keystone x.l. pipeline either. here you have a project that the american people support overwhelmingly, that would create thousands of jobs when we rarely, rarely needed them more, and it would pass congress easily if the majority leader would just allow a vote. but he won't because the far left won't let him. and if we do get a vote the democratic leadershipship will be sure to filibuster against the jobs the keystone x.l. pipeline will create. activists on the left positively hate, hate this energy jobs initiatives. they rail against it constantly even though they can't seem to explain in a serious way why it's a bad idea.
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but it's a symbol, symbol in their minds, so they demand senate democrats dock its approval and senate democrats dutifully do just that. again and again we see the needs of the middle class subsumed to the whims of the left. that's become the legacy of today's democratic majority. they've diminished the vital role the senate plays in our democracy. we just don't seem to debate or address the most serious issues anymore even with significant events at home and abroad that deserve our attention. because for the senate democrats who run this place, the priority isn't really on policy. it's on show votes and political posturing 24/7. this reflects a party that's simply run out of ideas, that's failed to fix the economy after five and a half years of trying and now sees its political salvation not in making good policy for the middle class but
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in exciting the left enough to save the day come november. well, i guess we'll see if this strategy pays off. that's not what truly matters around here. what really matters is that millions in our country are hurting and that senate democrats don't seem to want to act. look, they should be joining with us to help our constituents because the american people didn't send us here to play games or to serve the far left. our constituents sent us here to have serious debates on issues that matter to them, like energy security, national security, economic security; all three can be addressed if the majority leader would simply allow republican amendments to be considered. our constituents want congress to make good policy. the fact that we don't seem to do that anymore under the current majority is really quite tragic. the american people deserve better. they deserve a debate. and they deserve to be heard.
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now, mr. president, on a different matter entirely mr. president, i want to pay tribute to a brave and honorable young man from kentucky who was tragically lost in the performance of his military service. specialist russell e. madden of bellevue, kentucky, was killed on june 23, 2010, in afghanistan
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in support of operation enduring freedom. specialist madden volunteered for his final mission and was in the lead vehicle in a convoy that was attacked by the enemy. his -- his vehicle was struck by a rocket shell. he was 29 years old. for his service in uniform, specialist madden received many awards, medals and decorations, including the bronze star medal, the purple heart medal, the army good conduct medal, the national defense service medal, the afghanistan campaign medal with bronze service star, the global war on terrorism service medal, the army service ribbon, the overseas service ribbon, the nato medal and the combat action badge. russell madden joined the army just under two years before his
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death. his father, martin madden, reflects on his son's time in service this way. his father said 19 months is not a long military career, but 19 months was long enough to graduate basic training at fort sill, oklahoma, with honors, he says. his dad continues, 19 months is long enough to be running and gunning as a lead convoy gunner on convoys that sometimes took 16 hours to move 40 miles to replenish forward-operating bases, completing over 85 missions outside the wire in nine months. 19 months may not represent a prolonged period of life in the minds of most americans. however, it's just long enough to create a patriot to define heroism and accept a place of honor among those who stand in silent testimonial to the strength of this great nation.
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the bond between father and son that moves martin to speak these words was forged, of course, not just over 19 months, but over russell's entire lifetime. like so many of the extraordinary heroes that hail from kentucky, russell's childhood is full of examples of a young man devoted to a cause greater than himself. he was the oldest of three children. along with his younger sister lindsay and younger brother martin. like most young siblings, at times the kids would fight. russell's parents had a unique way to defuse family tussles. in order to settle disagreements, we placed both russell and lindsay in the middle of the living room and told them to stand there hugging each other, martin says. after about 20 minutes of standing there hugging, we would begin to hear them laughing and having a good time, and we would
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go in and tell them if they would get along, they could stop. little sister lindsay remembers childhood stories like these just as she remembers her brother's dedication to service. all he ever told me every time i talked to him was that he wanted to make me proud, she says, and he has. he always made me proud. russell attended bellevue high school where he displayed his dedication to serving on a team as a star athlete in football, baseball and track. during his senior year, the track team was one week away from the state meet when the stop hurdler got injured. -- top hurdler got injured. the whole team was in danger of not qualifying unless someone stepped in. russell volunteered to run the hurdles even though he had never run a hurdle in his life. russell took off running at full sprint, stopped when he got to the hurdle and jumped over it,
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then took off running at full speed until he reached the next hurdle and stopped and jumped over that one throughout the track, recalls martin madden. it was the most unorthodox style the coach had ever observed, but with the state qualifier taking place the next week, the coach allowed russell to represent the team. as a result, russell's first-ever hurdle event was the state qualifying match. even using what his father calls his god-awful ugly style, russell qualified and ran in the final state competition where he placed sixth. russell was a winner on the football field just as he was in track and field. every friday night during the 1999 season, fans packed gilligan stadium to watch bellevue high play out what would be an undefeated season. russell played running back and was such a talented athlete that he could also kick field goals and extra points, return
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kickoffs, punt, quarterback and play wide receiver, and that's only on the offensive side of the ball. he also played linebacker on defense. as a result of his all-around athletic success, volunteer work and coaching of youth football teams, russell was inducted into both the bellevue high school sports hall of fame and the northern kentucky youth league football hall of fame. he was also recognized by the northern kentucky high school football coach's association for his sportsmanship. russell graduated from bellevue high school in 2000. in twait, russell and -- in 2008, russell and his wife michelle learned that their son parker had a preliminary diagnosis indicating a high potential for cystic fibrosis. russell joined the army to fight for his country and to provide the medical treatment necessary for his young son, martin said. russell enlisted in 2008 and during his deployment to
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afghanistan was assigned to the first squadron, 91st calvary regimen, 173rd airborne brigade combat team based out of conn barracks in germany. russell's father martin recalls how russell's fellow soldiers felt about russell's dedication to them and their team, a dedication that echoed the drive of the young man who volunteered for the hurdles and excelled on the gridiron. this is what the soldiers in his platoon told me, martin says. russell said to them guys, i will not let you down. we will get there. if ever there was going to be a problem, they wanted to be with russell because they knew he would never, never let them down. respect and admiration for russell's dedication to a cause greater than itself even reached the halls of the kentucky general assembly, which passed a joint resolution to designate kentucky route 1120 within the
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city limits of his hometown of bellevue as the specialist russell madden memorial parkway. russell's family was present as the new street sign was unveiled for the first time. it is an awesome tribute to my husband, says michelle, russell's wife. he deserves it. i want this sign for my son to say hey, that's my dad's sign. that's what my dad has done for us. this is what's going to carry on his legacy. so, madam president, we're thinking of specialist russell e. madden's family today, including his wife michelle, his son parker, his stepson jared, his parents martin madden and peggy david, his sister lindsay, his brother martin and many other beloved family members and friends. it is important that russell's family knows that no matter how long or how short his time in
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uniform may have been, martin madden is absolutely right that his son will and must be forever remembered and revered for the sacrifice he has made on behalf of our country. i know specialist russell e. madden certainly will be remembered by this united states senate. i ask all of my colleagues to join me in expressing the utmost respect for his life and his service, and we extend our greatest condolences to his family for a loss on behalf of our nation that can never truly be eased. madam president, i yield the floor.
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mr. cornyn: madam president? the presiding officer: the republican whip. mr. cornyn: madam president, i was here on the floor, as you were, listening to the distinguished republican leader's glowing tribute to this fallen warrior and was moved certainly by that. he preceded those comments by talking about what's happening to the united states senate and the fact that even though we are here debating supposedly the first energy legislation to come to the senate floor since 2007, that the majority leader, majority leader reid, who has the power under the senate rules to basically be the traffic cop to decide who -- which amendments get heard and voted on and which ones do not, his comment was to the effect that the majority leader has essentially shut the senate down
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and denied the minority an opportunity to offer their amendments and to get votes on amendments. now, i know people listening to this must say well, here they go again talking about the prerogatives and the rights of senators, but that's not what i'm talking about. i'm talking about the rights and prerogatives of the people i represent. 26 million texans who are being shut out of a debate on, of all topics, energy. we take great pride in the fact that texas is an energy-producing state, and it's one of the reasons why our economy has been doing better than much of the rest of the country, because we have responsibly and with the right kind of environmental stewardship we have taken
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advantage of this gift of the natural resources that we have in our state, and thanks to the innovation and thanks to the investment and the hard work of a lot of people, we are doing better, thank you, than the rest of the country when it comes to job creation. so it really offends me when the majority leader this morning said, and i quote, he said during today, people will be watching, presumably in the gallery, on c-span, maybe on the evening news. he says today people will be watching this, and i'll see -- and they'll see a quorum call and nothing on a screen. why? because we are in the midst again of one of these never-ending filibusters of republicans.
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hundreds of them. hundreds of them. still quoting, he said let me remind everyone lyndon johnson was majority leader for six years. well, i would just interject, madam president, lyndon johnson didn't run the united states senate the way senator reid did when he was majority leader. continuing the quote, he said, during that period of time, he had to overcome one filibuster, mr. president. i have lost track. it's hundreds and hundreds of filibusters that we have had to overcome, and we have the republicans coming here and saying well, all we want is a few amendments. they will do everything they can to stop us from progressing on legislation and things that are good for this country. he's talking about the 45 senators on this side of the aisle. that we will do everything we can to stop from progressing on
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legislation and on things that are good for the country. how insulting can you be? now, we're going to have differences of opinion, sure. that's what we're here for. that's why they used to call the united states senate the world's greatest deliberative body, because here on the floor not even majority leader reid can shut me down or any other senator who stands and is recognized by the chair to speak on a matter of importance to their state or to the country. but to have the majority leader come here and say that what we are trying to do is stop progress on legislation and things that are good for the country, and he goes on. he accuses us of trying to stop anything that's good for barack obama, he said. they think it's bad for the country and for five and a half years, they have opposed everything this good man has tried to do.
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it's a shame, he says. so anyone wondering what's going on out there, it's another one of their hundreds of filibusters that they have conducted. well, majority leader reid has been a member of the senate for a long, long, long, long time. he knows this is not true. so why he would come to the floor of the united states senate and say it is puzzling to me. you know, we had two years when president obama and mr. -- and senator reid's party could do anything they wanted. how was that? well, because they had 60 votes in the senate, which is sort of the magic number that you can basically do anything you want in the senate because the minority doesn't have enough numbers to stop the majority or to check their power.
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and so democrats had the house of representatives, nancy pelosi as speaker. they had the senate with 60 votes and harry reid as the majority leader, and they had barack obama in the white houset in those two years? well, one of the things we got is obamacare. we know that when it was sold on the basis that if you like what you have, you can keep it, your premiums would go down $2,500, and, yeah, you can keep your doctor too, that none of that proved to be true. none of it. we got dodd-frank. you remember dodd-frank? that was the legislation following the financial crisis of 2008 and the meltdown on wall street that was very damaging to
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the economy of this country; there is no doubt about it. but what we got with unrestrained and unchecked, one single-party efforts during the time they controlled all three branches -- two branches of government, the executive and legislative branch, we got legislation that targeted wall street but main street was actually the collateral damage. i hear that from my credit unions and community bankers in texas all the time, that the regulations are strangling them and keeping them on the sidelines, hurting the economy and hurting job creation. my point, madam president, is the framers of our constitution understood that it is important to have vigorous debate on the differences of opinion that each of us bring representing our various states. i would just ask the majority
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leader, you know, the constitution makes the point in article 1, section 1, that all legislative power herein granted shall be vested in a congress of the united states which shall consist of a senate and a house of representatives. so if the constitution vests all of the legislative authority in the senate and the house, what happens when half of the senate is shut down and denied an opportunity to participate in the legislative process? well, the constitution goes on to say what kind of legislative power is vested in the senate and the house? section 8 of article 1, of the constitution lays out a laundry list of powers that the congress
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has, the sorts of things that congress is intended to legislate on, everything from the power to lay and collect taxes, duties, and excises, to borrow money on the credit of the united states, to establish a uniform rule of naturalizeation, to coin money to, provide for the punishment of count counterfeiting and securities, to establish post offices and post roads, to promote the progress of science and the useful arts, to constitute tribunals inferior to the supreme court; to go on and on and on. and of course finally the last phrase in article 1, section 8, laying out the power of the congress to legislate says and to make all laws that shall be necessary and proper and carrying into execution the
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foregoing powers and all other powers vested by this constitution and the government of the united states or in any department or officer thereof. so i ask the majority leader if the constitution grants the congress the power to legislate and specifies all of the things that we are supposed to legislate on and do as the elected representatives of our various states, what happens when we are shut out of the process? we are denied the opportunity to represent the people that have elected us to office, that have entrusted us with a sacred responsibility and a stewardship. it is beyond outrageous. it is beyond outrageous for the majority leader to make the remarks he made this morning that i previously quoted, because he knows they're not
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true. he knows they are not factual. but the constitution itself guarantees my constituents, all 26 million of them the rights laid out in the constitution in article 1, when they vote for senator, they're entitled to have their senator participate in the legislative process. we're not guaranteed the right to win these votes but we are given the responsibility and the privilege of representing them here in this place, and we cannot do it when the majority leader runs this like a dictator. so we're debating supposedly an energy efficiency bill. as i said, it's the first time we've had an energy debate since 2007 on the floor. there's a lot of really good
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ideas that have been offered to improve this underlying legislation. i have no doubt that this underlying legislation would pass. it will pass if the majority leader allows us an opportunity to offer and debate our proposals for improving the underlying bill. but if he's going to shut us out of the process and deny the people i represent a voice and an opportunity to improve this legislation, we're not going to cooperate. now, the majority leader keeps saying no to amendments, and he denigrates our right on behalf of our constituents to offer amendments and to get votes on those amendments. and i know i've come to the floor and other members have come to the floor and tried to speak on this topic, and i know that these, sometimes this
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sounds like it's all just about process. it's about process. how boring could that be? well, it's important because in essence the majority leader has imposed a gag rule on the minority in the united states senate. a gag rule in the world's greatest deliberative body. no more. i don't really know what the majority leader is afraid of. is he afraid of a vote on the keystone x.l. pipeline? i think i saw a poll the other day that said roughly 61% of the respondents to that poll thought this was a good idea, that we get more of our energy from a friendly source like the nation of canada rather than have to transport all of it on tank cars on trains that occasionally crash and cause a lot of damage,
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that it might be better to build this pipeline so we could safely transport that oil from canada down to refineries in my state where it can be converted into gasoline, aviation fuel, and the like. and in the process create an awful lot of jobs. 61%, i think, according to that poll i read, said they thought that was a pretty good idea. yet, the majority leader won't even allow a vote on that amendment. he won't allow a vote on minority amendments. he won't allow a vote on democratic amendments. i bet my colleagues on the other side of the aisle must be frustrated indeed because they have been denied an opportunity to participate in this process too, thanks to the auto crattic powers being exercised by the majority leader. so here's another idea that this
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side of the aisle had an amendment we'd like to get some debate and vote on. we're not asking to win. we understand. we can do the math. we know that we're in the minority. but these are important topics. so when vladimir putin, he invades crimea, the russian army is building up in the ukraine causing havoc in that country, and it looks like he's not going to stop and the president said we're going to make sure that there's a cost imposed on that for vladimir putin's invasion of ukraine. so we're going to impose a number of sanctions. the fact of the matter is, as my colleague from arizona, the senior senator from arizona, he said russia is a gas station posing as a country, which i think is a pretty humorous way of saying that the energy that
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energy produces and transmits to ukraine and europe is its main source of economic power and revenue. and if we could undermine that by kporgt more energy from the united states to europe, that would dissuade vladimir putin perhaps, in addition to other things we might do. but the majority leader won't even allow us an opportunity to vote on that issue. oh, by the way, it also is going to continue to create more jobs here in america. so, here's what the majority leader has done since he's been majority leader. he has basically blocked any opportunity for republicans to
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offer amendments on legislation 84 times. 84 times, including 14 times just this year. shut us out, imposed the reid gag rule, and said i don't care what the constitution says. i don't care that you were elected by the people in your state to come here and be their voice and to offer their ideas on legislation. i don't care. we're not going to allow it is what majority leader reid has said 84 times. and then he has the audacity to impugn our motives this morning to insult the job we're trying to do to represent our
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constituents and he calls that a filibuster. well, george orwell wrote a book called "1984" where he talked about how people could twist the ordinary understanding of the english language in a way that is very dangerous. but i would suggest that under no definition of filibuster is the fact that the majority leader has imposed his gag rule, shut us out of the legislative process, denied us the opportunity to do what the constitution guarantees, and he calls that a filibuster. give me a break. so he comes to the floor this morning and he talks about, well, if you're watching c-span or if you happen to be visiting the capitol and be in the gallery, you're going to, you're going to see quorum calls and you're going to hear nothing but
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crickets on the senate floor, because there's not going to be anything happening there. but the reason why that's true in large part is because he has shut down the process. he has denied us a voice. he's denied us an opportunity to participate in the legislative process that the constitution talks about in the provisions that i just read. so i guess i'm probably not going to persuade majority leader reid about the error of his ways because i don't think he really cares. i don't think he cares. it's not going to affect the fact he's -- whether he's reelected or not in nevada perhaps? and there's really nothing the minority can do given the fact that the majority leader has extraordinary power under the senate rules and under the
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precedent of the senate. he can get away with it if the senate allows it. if the public allows it. but that's why it's important to come to the senate floor and expose this fraud for what it really is. it is a fraud. it's just -- it is trying to deceive the american people into thinking that by speaking out against this gag rule that somehow we are an obstacle to passing legislation. well, we have certain responsibilities to the people who sent us here, and that responsibility does not include sitting down and shutting up when we're being run over by a freight train by the name of senator harry reid. it's outrageous. it is outrageous.
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so thanks to the majority leader, we likely will not have any amendments on this legislation. and i think at last count there were roughly 30 of them, ideas that we had that we'd like to offer amendments on. we've even proposed to majority leader reid, okay, we'll take those 30 or 40 amendments and we'll talk among ourselves and maybe we can reduce those to five or so relevant amendments. things that have to do with energy, with jobs, with national security. and he answers no, forget it. and you know what? instead of accepting responsibility for his decision, he blames us for filibustering. what does he expect us to do? just to be quiet?
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to sit in our offices while he runs this -- runs this railroad that used to be known as the world's greatest deliberative body, runs over our rights and the rights of the people we represent. well, we're not going to just shut up. we're not going to just sit down and shut up. we're not. so, you know, back in my younger days, madam president, i used to be a practicing lawyer. i would be hired by a client to come into court and to make an argument on their behalf, to give them the representation that they are entitled to under our system of justice. and i had my argument and the opposing party had their argument and their lawyer and their witnesses and they came in and presented it before a jury of either six people or 12 people, depending on the court you were in, and ultimately that
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dispute between the parties, kind of like the difference of opinion we have here on how the senate ought to operate, and the business we ought to be conducting. so in court when you have a dispute like that between opposing parties, the judge and the jury who are impartial will listen to the facts, and the judge will decide what the law is that applies in that kind of case, and then you will have a verdict, and that along with the judgment that the judge signs incorporating those findings of fact by the jury, that's how the case is decided. so how is that going to work here in the senate? is that -- what's the analogy? well, the best analogy i can think of is that we will indeed
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have a verdict, but it's going to be by the voters in the midterm elections come november. and my only conclusion is that the majority leader must be afraid of having this sort of robust debate because he knows it will expose some of his members to votes that they may have a hard time explaining back home. there actually might be some accountability, heaven forbid. so his answer is to shut down the senate. it's really very sad. madam president, on a different topic, this has to do with the revenues administration.
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with each passing week, we are finding more and more about institutional failures within the department of veterans' affairs. we recently learned that the phoenix v.a. system had a secret waiting list designed to conceal a massive backlog of delayed appointments and that some of the veterans who were put on this secret waiting list actually died waiting to get the treatment that they deserve. now we're learning that staffers in a v.a. clinic in fort collins, colorado, were deliberately showing their clerks how to create fraudulent appointment records. in the meantime, there are still more than 589,000 v.a. pension and compensation claims pending nationwide. 589,000. and a majority of them are
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backlogged, according to the v.a.'s own criteria, which is more than four months. and every day it seems like we learn of a new part of this scandal because whistle-blowers step forward and say yeah, well, that was happening where i work, too. well, yesterday the "austin american statesman" wrote a story -- published a story, the title of which was" v.a. employee wait list data was manipulated in austin and san antonio." and i will just refer to a -- a bit of this. but the story says the department of veterans' affairs scheduling clerk has accused v.a. officials in austin and san antonio of manipulating medical appointment data in an attempt to hide long wait times to see doctors and psychiatrists. the austin american statesman
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has learned. the 40-year-old v.a. employee says he and others were -- quote -- verbally directed by lead clerks, supervisors during training to ensure that wait times at the austin v.a. outpatient clinic and the north central federal clinic in san antonio were as close to zero days as possible. the medical support assistance said he and other clerks achieved that by falsely logging patients' desired appointment dates to sync with appointment openings. that made it appear that there was little or no wait time, and ideally less than the department's goal of 14 days. in reality, the clerk said the wait times for appointments could be as long as three months. madam president, i would ask after the conclusion of my remarks that this newspaper article i referred to be made
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part of the record. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. cornyn: madam president, scandals like these confirm that the v.a. lacks safeguards against official abuses and it also lacks accountability. the kind of accountability that would ensure that american veterans get the care and support they need in a timely fashion. i have called on the majority leader in the wake of this phoenix revelations but now more urgently after what happened at fort collins and now reports of abuses in san antonio and austin perhaps, i have called on the majority leader to hold hearings on these scandals, and i want to reiterate that call today. and i also reiterate my call for the day secretary eric shinseki to resign his position and to let someone else take on the reforms necessary to get the v.a. back on track.
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i would say that secretary shinseki, as i said yesterday and as the american legion noted, secretary shinseki is an american patriot who did multiple combat tours in vietnam and has devoted his life to serving his nation, and he deserves nothing but our respect for that service, but unfortunately the v.a. scandals on his watch have been so numerous and so outrageous that they demand immediate accountability, and it's become clear to me that secretary shinseki is not the right person for the job. he has been in charge of the department more than five years. under his watch, many of the v.a.'s problems have just gotten worse, not better. these problems call for new leadership and a new direction. as dan dellinger at the american legion said on monday, he said
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there needs to be a change and that change needs to occur at the top. i want to emphasize again the urgency of the situation. i know the president yesterday was talking about the urgency of dealing with climate change. well, i would hope that the president and congress would act with at least the same kind of urgency that the president was arguing for when it comes to climate change when it comes to our veterans, some of whom are dying waiting to get the treatment that they are entitled to. what the v.a. needs is full-scale institutional reforms that introduce much stronger safeguards against administrative abuses and much greater accountability for senior officials, because let's face it, the v.a.'s problems go beyond, well beyond a few rogue health care personnel and
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administrators in phoenix and fort collins, colorado. at a time when america's veterans are facing enormous physical and psychological and financial challenges, the federal government is letting them down, letting them down. don't just take my word for it. according to a recent survey of war vets from afghanistan and iraq, nearly 1.5 million of those who served in those wars believe the needs of their fellow vets are not being met by the government. one iraq veteran, a former army staff sergeant named christopher stevens, told the survey group he had been trying to get health care and some financial relief for more than a half a year and had yet to hear back from the v.a. hadn't even gotten back to him or responded. in his words, he said when i raise my right hand -- raised my right happened and said i will support and defend the constitution of the united
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states of america, when i gave them everything i could, i expect the same in return. he said it's ridiculous, i have been waiting seven months just to be examined by a doctor. absolutely ridiculous. well, sergeant stevens is right. it is ridiculous, but it's more than that. it is disgraceful and it dishonors the service, the brave service that our men and women in uniform have given on our behalf, and it's past time for us to get serious about fixing the problem. again, just to underscore the urgency of these issues, the survey i mentioned a moment ago found out that one out of every two afghan and iraq war veterans say they know a fellow service member who has attempted or committed suicide. they say they know -- one out of
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two knows somebody who has tried or has successfully committed suicide. and our message to the veterans is just wait, be quiet, sit down, shut up, and it's unacceptable. as i said earlier, secretary shinseki is an american patriot, but after five years as head of the veterans administration, it's time for him to step down and make way for new leadership. more importantly, it's past time for the veterans administration to start honoring its promise to america's heroes. the status quo is unacceptable, and no one disputes that. the only question is are we going to do something about it? appointing a new secretary would be a good start. madam president, i yield the floor.
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a senator: madam president? the presiding officer: the senator from massachusetts. mr. markey: i seek recognition to speak. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. markey: i thank you, madam president, and i rise today in support of the nomination of indira talwani to the united states district court of massachusetts. she is a brilliant, accomplished attorney who will make an outstanding addition to our district court. she is an american success story. her parents were immigrants from india and germany. if confirmed, she will be the first asian american district court judge in massachusetts. she has received honors throughout her career and her background and experiences unquestionably qualify her for the bench. she will be someone who the
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people of massachusetts, of new england and our whole country can be proud of. i believe she will be an objective, unbiased decisionmaker, and that's exactly what we need for our district court judges. i recommend her wholeheartedly to the members of this body. i would also like to turn to another subject, and that is the shaheen-portman energy energy efficiency bill which is going to be considered here today, and i recommend it, again, to all the members of this body because it is a bill that has been developed across parties in a bipartisan way, across industries, across labor, across consumer groups. this is a bill which on a bipartisan basis is going to lead to improvement in the
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building codes of the united states to reduce energy consumption, increases in the efficiency of industrial equipment to reduce energy consumption, to increase the energy efficiency of federal buildings in our country to reduce energy consumption, and none of it is being done on a mandatory basis. it is all done on a voluntary basis. that's why we have a consensus here today. now, let me also tell you what the consensus includes. it includes an understanding that this is going to create 190,000 new jobs in our country. let me repeat that. 190,000 new jobs in america from the shaheen-portman bill. it will save consumers $16 billion per year, save consumers $16 billion. and it will cut carbon dioxide
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going into the atmosphere polluting our country and our world by the equivalent of 22 million automobiles per year by the year 2030. now, these are benefits that are going to be maximized because we're going to start working smarter, not harder -- just reducing the amount of energy which we consume, reducing the amount of co2 that we send up in the atmosphere, and dog doins it on a voluntary basis, voluntary. so let's have a vote here on the senate floor. let's just get it done. let's agree on what it is that we know is going to help our country. we know it's going to create more jobs. but the republicans say, no, we need a vote on the keystone
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pipeline. we need a vote on something which is highly controversial, and we demand that vote. majority leader reid agrees to have a vote on the keystone pipeline, agrees to have a vote on the keystone pipeline. now, how controversial is that? you're going to take the dirtiest oil in the world come down from canada, build a pipeline through the united states, bring it down to port arthur, texas -- port arthur, texas, which is a tax-free export zone -- and then that oil is going to be exported out of the united states. now, where are the benefits for the united states in this scenario? we take the environmental risk. the canadians get the benefit of having the dirtiest oil i in the world come through that
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pipeline. and then it's going to be exported out of the united states. how do i know it's going to be exported out of the united states? because i, as a member of the house of representatives, had this amendment over and over brought to the floor of the united states house of representatives, and every time the american petroleum institute opposed it, even though they say it's all about north american energy independence. ah-ha, when you have a vote, every republican votes to keep that provision out of the bill so the oil can go out of the united states. so just stop this about energy independence for north america, if you don't as a part of the keystone pipeline accept a provision where the oil has to stay here. it's maximizing profit for the oil industry because they make more money when they sell the oil outside the united states than they do here.
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american consumers don't get the benefit of it. no, the world is going to get the benefit of it and the oil industry is; the canadians are. but majority leader reid said, we'll have a vote on that. we'll have a vote on it. and then what happens? we come back this week and the republicans say, that's not enough. this nice energy efficiency bill is going to be the vehicle for even more and more and more highly controversial issues, which at the end of the day is all meant to do what? to kill the energy efficiency bill because it reduces the amount of co2 that goes up into the atmosphere on a voluntary basis. and how do we know that? well, we know it because their amendments go right to the heart of what it is that we should all now finally accept.
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they want to have a vote, a big debate here that would prevent the environmental protection agency of the united states of america from regulating greenhouse gases, from regulating global warming. that's the debate they want to have. they're saying, no energy efficiency bill -- that everyone agrees on -- unless we have a debate on whether our environmental protection agency can have a debate -- can regulate greenhouse gases? it's 2014. it's 100 degrees in kansas today. there are hurricanes, cyclones, the tides are rising, the water is warmer, the storms are more intense. it is not just here. it is all across the planet. the scientists agree that there is global warming. their amendment would prohibit the environmental protection agency from regulating global
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warming pollution. that's what they call something that's reasonable. we have a bill that everyone agrees should pass, but they, after getting an agreement to the keyston -- an agreement thae keystone pipeline would be debated out here, they just continue down the pathway. yesterday the obama administration released a climate assessment from droughts in the west to the deluges in the east, this report shows that we are becoming the united states of climate change, and we must act in order to keep our nation safe and strong. second, they want to attach a provision to massively expand our exports of natural gas. they want to take the natural gas, which is being drilled for here in the united states, and put it on ships and send it out of our country. and the more natural gas that we export out of our country, the higher the price is going to go for natural gas in our country.
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it'll be more expensive to generate electricity, it'll be more expensive for manufacturers to make their products in our country, it'll be more expensive for those who want to build natural gas buses, natural gas trucks to be able to do so. that is something they want to do, export the natural gas of the united states to other countries. does that make any sense? is that the kind of noncontroversial discussion that we should have at the time that we have an energy efficiency bill that should go through? no, not at all. this is meant to dynamite the energy efficiency bill. that's what that amendment is all about. and then they want to add a rider to the bill as well that will, in fact, prohibit the e.p.a. from even considering at
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any time in the future a price on carbon, or for that matter prohibiting anyone. so these are just loaded, highly controversial amendments, all at their heart kind of denying the reality of how much harm they will do to the united states. and meanwhile the koch brothers smile. they smile because they know that it's all going to accomplish their principal goal: making sure that no energy efficiency bill passes in the united states senate this year; no reduction in the amount of greenhouse gases that we are sending up. that's the agenda. it's going to be the agenda into the future for the republican party. it has been the agenda. and i look out and i see
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republicans who have worked hard to put together this energy efficiency bill. i praise them for their willingness to come together on commonsense, reasonable provisions that reduce the amount of carbon going up into the atmosphere on a voluntary basis by encouraging the creation of 190,000 new jobs in our country, that democrats and republicans agree on. and i see this whole process getting hijacked by the koch brothers, by the oil industry, by the natural gas industry that wants to devolve into a big debate over science that is now completely and totally consensus, not only here but around the planet. the planet is running a fever. there are no emergency rooms for planets. we have to engage in preventive
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care to avoid the worst, most catastrophic impact of climate change on this watch that we have here in the united states senate. but, no, the process is being hijacked. you can see it here. they just want to torpedo this process so that more oil, more coal, more profits for coal and oil companies become the agenda. and so all i can say, ladies and gentlemen, is that we're at an historic turning point. the headlines in the newspapers across this country and across this planet, they tell the story today. "climate risk growing." that's the consensus. that's the reality. that's what this energy efficiency bill is meant to deal with. and what will happen -- and we're going to see it over and over again -- is you're going to
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have member after member on the republican side get up and demand that we have a debate on something unrelated to this energy efficiency bill, where there is a consensus. they want to take climate science that is a consensus around the planet and have another huge debate here on it. that's the tragedy of this. the green generation, the young people in our country, they know that is the challenge of this generation. we, as a nation -- we have to stand up. a high percentage of that co2 up in the atmosphere is red, white, and blue. we cannot preach temperance from a barstool. we cannot tell the rest of the world you must do something, if we are not doing something. that is what the bill that we should be debating here today would do, on a bipartisan basis: reduce greenhouse gases, create 190,000 jobs, and do it all on a
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voluntary basis. too simple, too good, too clearly consistent with these two objectives of job creation and greenhouse gas reductions. so i think that what we're seeing is the conserve in conservative no long exists, not with the koch brothers around. so this is now just going to be something that short-circuits the legislative process, it ensures that the energy efficiency bill is collateral damage because of their insistence on these amendments, when instead we have a chance this week to say that we are going to move forward on a smart energy policy, that we will work smarter, not harder, that we should come together to pass this bill without these giveaways to the oil industry, to the coal industry, so that we can create jobs, we can save
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energy. and i would recommend to my colleagues, that is the correct historical position arees that - historical position that this chamber should be in right now. and at this point, madam president, i yield back the balance of my time. mr. hatch: madam president? the presiding officer: the senator from utah. mr. hatch: madam president, today i will introduce legislation to help victims of one of the most vicious crimes, one of the most evil crimes in our society, child pornography. when the senatthe law required e defendant in a child sexual exploitation case must pay restitution "full the full amount of the victim's losses." madam president, could we have order in -- the presiding officer: the senate will be in order. mr. hatch: those lawsuits can include lost income as well as
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expenses for medical services, therapy, rehabilitation, transportation, and child care. the restitution start work statn a straightforward way for crimes that involve defendants who cause specific harm to particular victims. child pornography is ditch. victims not only -- child pornography is different. victims not only suffer from abuse, but they continue to suffer as the images are distributed. in an internet age, a child pornography victim's abuse never ends but identify everyone that contributes to that ongoing abuse can be difficult if not impossible. a predator who commits and records the abuse might be readily identified. those who distribute those images, however, are harder to find and many who obtain and possess them might never be
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identified at all. they may get lost in the crowd. they may seek safety in shadows. but the harm they cause to victims is no less devastating. our challenge is to craft a restitution statute suited for this unique kind of crime. we are meeting that challenge today by introducing the amy and vicky child pornography child restitution act. amy and victy are victims in two of the most widely pornography series in the world. they know how difficult it is to seek restitution for ongoing harm caused by unknown people. the supreme court reviewed amy's case and issued a decision on april 23 titled "caroline versus united states." the court said that the existing restitution statute is not suited for her kind of case because it requires proving how
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one defendant's possession of particular images concretely harmed an individual victim. that is simply impossible to prove. it puts the burden on victims forever to chase defendants only to recover next to nothing. several of my colleagues joined me in a legal brief on that case. we hope that the supreme court will construe the existing statute in a way that was workable to protect child pornography victims. the court chose not to do that and it is up to congress to craft a statute that works. i believe we are up to the task and that the bill i am introducing today is the way to do it. the amy and vicky act creates an effective, balanced restitution process for victims of child pornography that responds to the supreme court's decision in
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caroline vs. the united states. it does three things. first, it considers a victim's total losses, including from individuals who may not have yet been identified. this step reflects the unique nature of child pornography and its ongoing impact on its victims. secondly, the bill requires real and timely restitution and gives judges options for making that happen. third, it allows defendants who have contributed to the same victims' losses to spread the cost of restitution among themselves. if a victim was harmed by a single defendant, the defendant must pay full restitution for all of the victim's losses. but if a victim was harmed by multiple individuals, a judge has options for imposing restitution on a defendant -- on
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any defendant depending on the circumstances of the case. the defendant can be required to pay the full amount of the victim's losses or a defendant can pay less than the full amount but at least a statutory minimum for crimes such as possession, distribution, or production of the child pornography. in its decision in the case, the supreme court discussed whether or not a defendant should pay full restitution for harms that he did not cause entirely by himself. at the same time the court recognized that the harm from child pornography flows from the trade or the continuing traffic in the images. it would be perverse to say that as more individuals contribute to a victim's harm and loss by obtaining images of her abuse, the less responsible of them is so that -- let me put it this way. the less responsible each of
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them is so that the victim ends up with nothing. the amy and vicky act addresses these issues. a defendant may sue others who have harmed the same victim in order to spread the cost of restitution but must do so in a timely fashion and only after the victim has received real and timely payment. and as my colleagues may know, federal law already provides for criminal defendants who must pay restitution to do so on a payment schedule suitable for their individual circumstances. i want to thank three groups of people who have been critical in bringing us to this point only two weeks after the supreme court's decision. first and foremost, i want to recognize and thank both amy and vicy, the brave women for whom this bill is named, who represent so many child pornography victims. amy and vicky both endorsed this
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legislation and i ask consent that a letter from each of them be made a part of the record at this point. i thank the chair. secondly, i want to thank amy and vicky's legal team who were instrumental -- who was instrumental in developing this legislation. they include professor paul casell at the university of utah school of law and attorneys james marsh in new york and carol helpburn in seattle. professor casell argued the caroline case before the supreme court and it is the experience of these tireless advocates that informed how to respond to that decision. third, i want to thank the senators on both sides of the aisle who join me today in introducing this bill. in particular, i want to recognize the senior senator from new york, senator schumer, who also signed on to the legal
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brief that i filed in the caroline case. we served together on the judiciary committee, and he has long been a champion for crime victims. i ask consent that an editorial from today's "washington post" be placed in the record at this point. i thank the chair again. it says that the amy and vicky child pornography victim restitution improvement act is -- quote -- "a step in the right direction." i urge all of my colleagues to join us in enacting this legislation. it creates a practical process that recognizes the unique kind of harm caused by child pornography and requires restitution in a manner that will actually help victims. in her letter, amy writes that the legislation we introduce today -- quote -- "can finally make restitution happen for all victims of this horrible crime." unquote. let's get it done.
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madam president, i suggest the absence of a quorum. the presiding officer: the clerk will call the roll. quorum call: a senator: madam president? the presiding officer: the senator from oklahoma. mr. inhofe: i ask unanimous consent that the quorum call in progress be vitiated. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. inhofe: madam president, it is my understanding that the senator from missouri, senator blunt, will be recognized next for ten minutes or so. i ask unanimous consent that following the remarks by senator blunt that i be recognized for
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up to 15 minutes. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. inhofe: thank you. i suggest the absence of a quorum. the presiding officer: the clerk will call the roll. quorum call:
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a senator: madam president? the presiding officer: the senator from missouri. mr. blunt: madam president, i want to thank my good friend, my neighbor from oklahoma for helping me -- the presiding officer: the senate is in a quorum call. mr. blunt: i move we suspend the quorum call. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. blunt: and let me thank my good friend from oklahoma for ensuring i have the time here to talk for a few minutes about an issue that he and i both feel very strongly about. the best use of american energy and what american energy means to american families. it seems to me that the request that the minority is making, that our side of the aisle is making is not at aupb unreasonable -- is not at all unreasonable. it's been seven years since the senate had a real debate on energy. the shaheen-portman bill creates that opportunity, but suddenly we're told, well, this bill is so good already, why do you want
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to continue to talk about ways to make it even better? now, very few things beyond health care, which i can talk about for a substantial time -- and i hope to between now and the end of the week -- and energy have the kind of impact on families that health care and energy have. but what's happened here in the senate is the majority leader wants to control every debate, every week, which means that nothing happens. that's just not the way the senate works. we have a senate that traditionally any member of the senate could make any amendment they wanted to on any bill at any time. that's not the way the house works. i served in the house, and the majority runs the house, and the rules committee in the house is nine of the majority and four of the minority. it's pretty hard to lose a vote in a 9-4 committee. i think that's why that committee is established that way. but that's the way the house runs. the senate never ran that way. now we have a one-man rules committee that wants to decide
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on every bill, every rule that comes up, this gag rule that senators can't talk about the top tha*eubgs they want to discuss is something that didn't used to happen in the senate but now it's a daily and weekly part of the senate. now we're at the point where we go to the majority leader and say on the energy bill, could we have five amendments that deal with energy? that is so far from where the senate in the constitution was designed to be or the senate in practice has been that it's pretty hard to believe that senators on the minority are reduced to that point that on the energy bill, mr. leader, could we have five amendments that deal with energy? on the energy bill in the senate seven years ago, the last time the senate dealt with energy, every senator could have every amendment they wanted on anything they wanted to talk about, because that was the senate. one of the prices, one of the
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prices you paid for that six-year term was you might have to vote on some things you'd rather not vote on. now we have the six-year term, but the leader of the majority doesn't want us to vote on things that the majority may not want to vote on, and there are probably people in the minority that don't want to vote either. not voting is a pretty safe thing apparently politically but it's not the best thing for the country. so i'd like to see a real debate on energy. and one of the things i'd like to see is the amendment that i've offered to this bill to have a point of order to be sure that at least 60 senators would have to approve a carbon tax. i offered a similar amendment to the budget last year, in 2013, and 53 of my colleagues, 52 of my colleagues agreed with me for a majority vote of 53 that said, no, we don't want to have a carbon tax. and if we do have a carbon tax,
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it needs to be extraordinary because it affects everybody's utility bill. it affects everybody's ability to pay that bill. it affects whether or not you might have the job necessary to have the paycheck that allows you to pay that bill. and so 53 of my colleagues, including me, 52 and me said we don't want to do that. several of the people that voted against that amendment in 2013 have had a hard time explaining why they were against it. so maybe we ought to vote on it again. i think we'd have more than 53 votes this time. and if we don't vote this time, we're likely to have a lot more than 53 votes next time because the american people get it. the vast majority of the country, half of the aoults come from -- half of the utilities come from coal. and rules that create a carbon tax, the central focus of that is coal. the focus of that is fossil fuels generally. but the central focus is the resource that we have that now
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the germans are buying from us because they're abandoning their nuclear facilities to go to coal-fired power plants. and, madam president, we have a lot of coal but more importantly we have a lot of coal-powered plants. if you could say let's not use coal but our power utilities work just like they work without having to take millions of dollars of new investment, that would have a different kind of impact on families than when you say, let's not only not use coal, let's build a new power plant everywhere they have a coal power plant because, otherwise, the utility bill is going to double. but when you build a new power plant, the utility bill is going to double also. why would we want to have even the access to a policy that would allow people's utility bills to double? middle-income families, low-income families are the hardest impact impacted by that,
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especially in states like my state, where 80% of the utilities comes from coal. but again a majority of the utilities come from coal in the majority of the land mass of the country. our rates would raise 19% in the first year with a carbon tax or the kind of rules that the regulators are trying to put in place that would have carbon tax-like impact. in the decade after that first year, they double. now, you don't have to be very smart to multiply a utility bill by two. and if the boss showed you the utility bill at work, you wouldn't have to be a genius to multiply that by two, and you wouldn't have to be a genius to figure out that if the utility bill doubles, the job that helps you pay your utility bill at home might go away as well. it would lead to significant job loss. it would afford -- it would cause households to pay more for all of thing in the of of the ey
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have. for the 40 million households that earn less than $30,000 a year, they already spend more than 20% of their income on energy. now, do you want those families to continue to see that bill go up and every month wonder what they can have less of so they can pay more for the same utilities, and not because it had to be that way but because the government decided they wanted it to be that way? the households that will be the last households to get the new energy-efficient appliances, the last families to get the new windows, better doors, more insulation in the ceiling, those are the families impacted by this in a dramatic way. those are the families that live in houses tha houses that they o think, which room can we no longer afford to heat or no longer afford to cool in the heating and cooling months of
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the year and we're just going to have to close that door and roll --and roll up the throw rug so e heat and cooling no longer impacts that room. do we want families to have to do that so we can have a carbon tax, so we can have bad energy policies? we can do a better job by making american energy more affordable and more accessible, not making it less soavmen less so. so what's wrong with that? i heard my friend earlier say that we were insisting on a controversial amendment on the keystone pipeline. so what? what's controversial about it? a majority of us say we're for it. controversy would mean people must feel strongly the other way, so they can vote against it. let's let the american people know where we stand on these issues. are we going to do smart things about more american energy or
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not? the energy future of the country is so good that in spite of everything the government has done to slow to down, it still has been a major economic driver. so i'd like to see us vote on the keystone pipeline. i'd like to se see us vote on te carbon tax, when whether that'sa good idea or not. i'd like to see us vote on what type of security we need to secure our energy position in the future. senators shouldn't be stopped with a gag rule from the majority leader's office of what we can and cannot talk about, and the idea that we can't have energy amendments on an energy bill should embarrass every single senator here and concern everybody we work for, and hopefully we'll be able to move forward with the debate on an energy bill that's actually about energy. and i would yield the floor.
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mr. inhofe: madam president? the presiding officer: the senator from oofnlg oklahoma. mr. inhofe: let me first say to my good friend from missouri, i plan to talk about energy, the very thing he's talking about. look back logically, if we're dependent on fossil fuels for 75% of our ability to run this machine called america, and we extract that, what's going to happen? i think people need to be forewarned. i'm going to tee this up by talking a little bit about president obama's climate assessment meeting that he had yesterday. all these people were talking about the world coming to an end, the report that he came out with -- well, let me first of all, ask unanimous consent that at the conclusion of my remarks that the senator from delaware, senator coons, be recognized. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. inhofe: the whole idea of this report, by design, is to
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spark fear in the american people so they'll go along with the administration inemp in implementing their policies that will leave us with nothing but a broken economy. if in fact -- and no one would refute this -- we are dependent upon fossil fuels for 75% of the energy to run america, then what's going to happen to our economy if we extract 75%? well, i think we all know logically what's going to happen. in the worlds of the white house counselor john podesta this morning, he said, "the american public doesn't feel that sense of urgency about the impacts of climate change, and i think this report will help influence that." well, that is nothing but an admission. the whole reason for this report is to try to resurrect the issue of global warming. we heard my good friend from
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massachusetts talking about that. he is very knowledgeable, and i'll refer to some of his activities in just a minute. but keep in mind, this john poe des sta-- this is john podesta,e same john podesta representing the terrorist regime from sri lanka. combs from a very partisan perspective. but, nonetheless, i appreciate the fact that he is admitting that this is the reason for the climate assessment that president obama did yesterday, because he wants to try to bring this up again, because if people -- i can remember back when the polling showed that global warming was either number one or number two of the environmental issues in america. you know where it is now? it is number ten, according to the last gallup poll. so people have caught on. they've seen the scientists come in an refute all this ipcc stuff
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that the united nations has been putting forward for a long period of time. so i think that it's a recognition that people have caught onto this and it is no longer the issue that they want it to be. whether it is drought or flood, high temperatures, low temperatures, if you can't find a job, you're having more allergic reactions, then the white house blames the problem on global warming. fear has always been a tactic of the administration and other global warming alarmists have used to spur people in action. but time and time again, when the american people learn the details and the costs of the solutions to global warming that they contend exist, they don't want anything to do with it. and the costs are enormous. congress last debated the global warming when my good friend, now senator markey was in the house. it was the waxman-markey cap-and-trade bill. now, this bill would have cost, according to charles rivers and
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associates -- and i think people recognize them as authentic -- between $300 billion and $400 billion a year. that's the cost. i would contend this would be the largest tax increase in the history of this country. now, that's consistent with other analyses. one was the wharton group. many of the scientists there that were making evaluations came out with the same thing, between $300 billion and $400 billion a year. m.i.t. came out with about the same amount, d 30 $300 billion o $400 billion a year. the cost estimate has been the same over the last 15 years, since we first started debating this issue. i don't think anyone is challenging that. but what is really important -- and it's kind of in the weeds but we have to talk about this -- i applaud senator markey for the -- at least the levels of pollution -- of emissions, i should say, that come from
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different sources, that he was wanting to regulate. and that was those with 25,000 tons of co2 emissions or more. now, that would be, quite frankly, the major emitters, the refineries and all of that. here's the problem we have today: it's far worse than the waxman-markey bill would have been because it wouldn't call for the regulation of just those entities that emit 25,000 tons or more, but the clean air act -- the clean air act has a threshold of 250 tons of greenhouse gases a year. you stop and think about that. if it cost-of-living adjustmentn $300 billion and $400 billion, how much more if they just regulate everyone with 2050 ton.
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we're talking about billions and billions of dollars more. the regulations are more worse. the first of these regulations is the new source performance standards for newly constructed power plants. the rule would make -- would essentially make it illegal to build new coal-fired fire plants, that's what it was designed to do. the next step would be to take the existing power plants, those who are employing hundreds of thousands of people in america today, and they would be out of a job. so that would be -- go to the refining industry and so forth and establish new regulations for each and every industry. these greenhouse gas regulations mark the latest attempt by the e.p.a. to destroy affordable and reliable electricity and energy supplies that have been the hallmark of our economy for a long period of time. but they're already doing it in other areas, too. it is not just regulating the greenhouse gas emissions or co2 emissions.
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it's other regulations that are unbearable. this chart here -- they're talking about changing the ozone regulation. now, this chart is an interesting one because this shows that virtually every county in america would be out of attainment with their new goals. in my state of oklahoma, we have 77 counties. all 77 counties would be out of attainment if they're able to do that. in 2011 the e.p.a. finalized its utility mact. that's maximum achievable technology. utility mac, a rule that costs over $100 million and will result in 1.6 merkley-levin lost jobs. -- 1.6 million lost jobs. the e.p.a. said it wouldn't required to put out the cost of t the law does not say that
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they're required to say what it costs. i take issue with that. they estimated the rule would result in less than 10,000 megawatts of electricity generation. but today we know that the power companies around the country have announced retirements of totally -- of totaling more than 50,000. so they're off by 500%. 50,000 megawatts in direct response to the e.p.a. regulation. by the way, when we had the utility mact, i fired at c.r.a. this is something that i want to make sure people are aware of. certainly me friends on the other side of the aisle, on all these regulations, where they once reach the point where the regulation is final, we know that it's going to cost dollars and jobs, i'm going to file a c.r.a. a c.r.a. is a congressional review act. a c.r.a. provides that if
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there's a regulation -- and i hear so often members of my colleagues of the senate say to their constituents, don't blame me for these regulations because that's the regulatory, that's the e.p.a. and other regulators doing it. but a c.r.a. forces them to take an issue. so all you have to do is find 30 people in the united states senate, have them sign a c.r.a., file the c.r.a., then it's simply a simple majority, 51. well, in the case of this utility mact that we had, i own the last three voatsz of stopping that rule. we're going to be able to stop a the love these rules. in about ten days the e.p.a. is designed to stop another rule. this cooling rule is designed to keep fish from being caught and killed in nets designed to prevent them from entering power plant systems. while the rule doesn't have any
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resume health benefits, it is expected to cost the industry over $100 billion in compliance costs. which of course would be passed on to the people, everyone in america who ends up paying for these bills. the north american electric reliability corps, called nerc warned this rule would have far less impact than the utility mact did. we know what that did. the federal energy, the ferc commissioner recently said that because e.p.a.'s rules the united states is likely to see rolling electricity blackouts during the summer months in the next few years as demand for electricity outstretched the supply remaining after the all the power plant shutdowns slated to occur. the e.p.a. has distorting the tree cost of its regulations in years, and i have been raising
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this as an issue for some time now but it's been very difficult to air them out before the entire senate simply because at this point the sole goal of the democrats seems to be to protect their majority. if we look at this chart here, this was back prior to the 2012 election. what we found they were doing in part of the 2012 election is postponing many of these very onerous regulations because they knew that we would be doing a c.r.a. and the public would know who is responsible for these. and they postponed this. this is a report that i put out october of 2012. and that was to try to force the administration to not wait until after the election to come out with their rules. that's what they did. well, they're doing it again now. last week i released documents revealing that the e.p.a. intentionally delayed the release of its greenhouse gas
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new source performance standards, nsps. and delayed them for 66 days in order to avoid it being finalized before the midterm elections. the same thing in 2012. i sent a letter to gina mccarthy, director of the environmental protection agency, asking why the rule was delayed, especially when she had previously told me that it was the result of a backlog in the federal register. in other words, she's saying the federal registry did not post this thing until 60 days after we gave it to them. well, we checked with the federal registry. they said that is absolutely false. they had an immediate turn around for these rules. now i'm waiting for a response to that letter. i don't want to use the "l" word. i know that there's a lot of pressure put on the employees and certainly the director of the e.p.a. to try to minimize what the public feels is going to be the cost of these regulations. had the e.p.a. stuck with its original time line, finalizing
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this rule by september 20 of this year, that would be -- then i would have been able to work with my colleagues tpo force a congressional review act to overturn the rule just weeks before the election. then people would know the cost of these things. but what we could do right now is vote on a few of the amendments. our senator from missouri was talking about these amendments. we have a bill that's coming up. we have amendments that should be considered all having to do with energy. so they're all appropriate amendments to offer, as he articulate ford about ten minutes a -- articulated for about ten minutes a few minutes ago. i have amendments that would do this. he mentioned one of them because we're together. one of my amendments is 2977, senate amendment, would be entitled, the energy tax prevention act of 2014. it simply prohibits the e.p.a.
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from promulgating any greenhouse gas emissions to combat climate change because they're denying this is the reason they're doing it. of course we know what has happened to the science that they are relying on through the united nations that's now been refuted. the second amendment that i have is amendment number 2979. it would prevent the e.p.a. from issuing any new clean air act regulations like those on climate change until it complies with section 321-a of the clean air act. keep in mind, this is the clean air act. we're talking about decades ago, and this is what the environmental protection agency is supposed to do. the administrator shall conduct continuing evaluations of potential loss or shifts of employment which may result from the administration or enforcement of the provision of this chapter. it is saying they're supposed to already tell the public what the cost, in terms of jobs and money. that's the law but they're not obeying the law. so i have an amendment that puts teeth in it and says you can't have any new rules until you
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comply with the existing section 321-a of the clean air act. very reasonable and it is the law today. unfortunately the e.p.a. is not interested in doing this with the utility mact. it has completely dismissed the rules, costs and didn't consider it when putting off the rule. the e.p.a. acted in contradiction to the supreme court precedents, the decision-makers are required to weigh advantages against disadvantages and disadvantages can be seen in terms of cost. that's a quote. that's the united states supreme court. the presiding officer: the senator has consumed 15 minutes. mr. inhofe: i ask unanimous consent that i be given five more minutes. the presiding officer: is there objection? without objection. mr. inhofe: i've got to get to the last part. rather than to face these issues head on, i'm going to share with you something that happened last -- it was last year and then again this year. there is a very wealthy person
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named tom steyer. tom steyer has a mansion that overlooks the golden gate bridge. he had a fund-raiser for barack obama last year, raising a lot of money. but what i'm more concerned about is the fund-raiser that he had when he announced -- this is just in the last month -- tom steyer, very wealthy person, said he was going to personally donate $50 million and raise an additional $50 million to try to do two things. one, to resurrect this whole idea on global warming since the people don't care about it anymore. and as a result of that we had an all-night vigil. remember that? that was right after tom steyer made his announcement. the second thing that he's mandating is to kill the keystone pipeline. there's a lot of money out there. the regulatory burdens already being placed on this country are enormous. the cost of regulations are worse, perhaps arguably the worst problem facing this country. last week the competitive
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enterprise institute published a major report calculating the cost of the president's regulations at $1.86 trillion. to put that in a perspective, the canada's entire g.d.p. is $1.2 trillion, the same amount. india is the same amount. that is what the cost would be according to the competitive enterprise institute. so people know what's happened to this administration, to the military. they know what's happened to energy. but the cost of these regulations is something that's going to have to be addressed. lastly, i would say this, i know there are people out there that legitimately believe greenhouse gases are causing global warming and the world is going to come to an end. but i would suggest this. lisa jackson was the administrator chosen by barack obama, the first administrator we had for the environmental protection agency. i asked her this question on the record live on tv. i said madam administrator, if we were to pass either the
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bills, like the markey-waxman bill or by regulation regulating the co2 in the united states of america, would this have the effect of lowering the co2 emissions worldwide? she said no because this is not where the problem is. it is in china. it's in india. it is in mexico. in other words, if you believe as i do not believe, but if you believe the co2 is going to bring about the end of the world, then even if we do something in this country, it's not going to solve the problem. arguably it would make the problem worse because as we lose our manufacturing base, as they're out seeking electricity and energy from countries where they don't have any of these regulations, that would have the effect of increasing, not decreasing emissions of co2. with that, madam president, i will yield the floor. and i thank my friend for not objecting to my additional time. a senator: madam president? the presiding officer: the senator from delaware. mr. coons: madam president, our nation's police officers work fearlessly and tirelessless
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every day to protect our families and to keep our communities safe. as we get ready to honor their service on national police week, the least we can do is stand by them and ensure that as they're doing their job, they're able to do it as safely as possible. every day more than a million law enforcement officers across this country accept risks to their personal safety as they leave their families at dawn and head off to their jobs, they know and their families know that they accept as a part of their mission of public safety service the risk that they may not come home that night. we owe it to them to do what we can to make that service just a little bit safer, to ensure that more of them come home safely week in and week out, year in and year out, and providing officers with bullet-proof vests is one of the most effective ways that we can contribute to that desired outcome. madam president, i come to the floor today because i share the
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deep frustration of my good friend, chairman patrick leahy, over the continued inability of this body to overcome the objection of one senator and move forward to renew on a bipartisan basis the federal bullet-proof vest partnership. yesterday chairman leahy gave the senate another opportunity to take up and reauthorize this partnership through a unanimous consent request. he is trying to move forward a bill we have already voted out of the senate judiciary committee on a bipartisan basis. yet, it was blocked again by objections raised by a colleague, the senator from oklahoma. madam president, for 14 years the federal bullet-proof vest partnership has been an important way for our nation to equip local police departments with one of the most effective ways to keep our officers safe. but this needs to be a lasting commitment. this needs to be an enduring partnership. as new officers join, they need to be fitted for new vests. because vests wear out and don't
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last forever, we need to ensure they can be replaced. we know, madam president, that bullet-proof vests work. since 1987, bullet-proof vests have saved the lives of more than 3,000 police officers across this country, and i am proud to continue in the tradition of my pred serbgs now -- predecessor, vice president joe biden, in supporting law enforcement and supporting this initiative. in my home state of delaware this partnership has provided our officers with thousands of vests over the last 14 years, including more than 3,800 over just the last five years. the delaware community has unfortunately seen up close why these vests are so important. it was 13 years ago that dover police sergeant david spicer was trying to make an arrest, an arrest he successfully completed when the suspect with whom he was wrestling pulled out a gun from a hidden pocket and shot him at close range four times. as sergeant spicer bled out, he
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lost nearly half the blood in his body before effecting the arrest. but because he was wearing a vest provided to him through the bullet-proof vest partnership, his life was safe. i was honored to welcome dover police sergeant spicer here three years ago. more recently last february, 2013, at the new castle county courthouse in wilmington a man unleashed a stream of bullets into the courthouse tragically killing two. in what was a devastating morning in the courthouse lobby two lives were saved, those of sergeant michael manley and corporal steven ryanhart, police officers wearing vests funded through the partnership. the very real results of this federal-state partnership, of this investment in keeping the men and women of law enforcement safe in the line of duty are
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hard to ignore. with many police departments at the local level facing shrinking budgets this bullet-proof vest department makes vests more affordable ensuring officers are outfitted with the most current and effective and appropriate protection possible. in fact, the program specifically prioritizes smaller departments thaofpb struggle to -- that often struggle to afford vests and don't provide vests or require vests of their officers. it is in these smaller and more rural agencies and departments where line in duty deaths have historically been high. this is critical as my previous role as local governor in delaware i saw firsthand house officers in smaller agencies struggled to have current bullet-proof vests. this is a program that is a 50-50 match federal and local money. how could anyone oppose this program that saves thousands of police officers' lives, that extends the reach of the
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federal-state partnership in keeping our community safer and that is such a wise investment in saving lives that matter so much to our communities? well, a colleague objected yesterday and has objected before and will object again. and i'm reminded of so many times when a bipartisan bill that comes to this floor dies here due to objection after objection and at times i struggle to understand the rationale. in his objection yesterday, my colleague raised an argument that somehow this program which promotes public safety does not fit within the authority granted to congress under the constitution. that it's not part of the enumerated powers of congress. madam president, i disagree. whether you ascribe to the narrow mad sownan view of the yen -- madisonian view or follow a hamiltonian view which the supreme court has done since 1937 when they affirmed the constitutionality of the social security act, this is not a
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close call. if providingfederal partnershipr bulletproof vests goes beyond the enumerated powers of this congress, what does that mean for public health, for investments in partnerships with state public health agencies to prevent pandemics and flus? what does this mean for the interstate highway system? what does this mean for hundreds of different partnerships where in a cost-effective way we work together with communities and states all over this country to extend and improve the general welfare of the people of the united states? to my colleague's argument yesterday that this is solely a state or local responsibility, the relate city that the bulletproof vest act ensures a federal partnership, an investment to help police departments struggling to meet the safety needs, the equipment needs of their officers to act where they otherwise can't. in my view, this

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